I’ve been thinking about viral microsites (aka Single Serving Sites) for a little while and in doing research for this post, stumbled across the very thorough and well written paper by Ryan Greenberg: http://isthisyourpaperonsingleservingsites.com/
Quick definition from Ryan: a viral microsite typically has 1) a dedicated URL 2) a narrowly defined message/purpose and 3) that purpose/message is expressed through a single webpage.
Rather than give an academic treatment (which Ryan’s thesis does superbly) I want to discuss some of the characteristics of popular microsites that I’ve come across over the years (and see if I can maybe apply them!)
Clean, Focused Layout
I think the primary element of great microsites are their focus. You need to immediately grasp the purpose of the site when it loads or else you’re gone. Great sites that do this:
I’m not sure if this site actually played a role in the new iOS feature, but the site creator did provide a helpful mockup back in the day.
CAPS, Gigantic Font and Profanity
You’ll notice that a lot of the more popular sites a mix of large font, caps lock and profanity to state their messages. It sort of feels like the site is shouting at you. Yet somehow, this makes the site more appealing. There’s a feeling of naughtiness as you share the site on your social networks. Certain sites that do this:
One of the biggest memes to hit the internet in 2008 – it’s got a humongous typeface, spawned numerous copy cat sites and its cutesy lines that proved so popular they made a book with them.